FAEO – President’s World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development Message

Eng. Martin Manuhwa -FAEO President
Date: March 4, 2020

1. Introduction

It is with my great joy and pleasure that the Federation of African Engineering Organisations (FAEO) joins the rest of the world in celebrating the first World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development (WED2020). Indeed, the first WED2020 on the 4th of March this year is historic. The key role of engineering in infrastructure development and provision of solutions to society’s problems led UNESCO member countries and WFEO, FAEO and over 80 engineering organizations worldwide to proclaim the 4th March every year as the World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development. This day was set aside to engage with governments, industries, non- governmental organizations and the public at large to address the need for engineering capacity and the quality of engineers to offer solutions to most pressing problems affecting humankind especially the achievement of the SDGs through partnerships, planet friendly policies and prosperous people oriented projects. Engineers will deliver the aspirations of our Agenda 2063 – “the Africa we want” and to meet the requirements of the 4th Industrial Revolution so as to leapfrog and address the pressing needs of sustainable development of humanity and the planet.

Engineering makes a crucial contribution to the improving quality of life of citizens, and economic prosperity of nations, across the world. Engineering has played a critical role in increasing the health and quality of life, better water supplies, municipal sewer systems, wastewater treatment plants, buildings, improved agriculture, transportation systems, food security and healthcare to sustainable energy, water, and transport infrastructures. In African developing countries engineering challenges are even more pronounced, often coupled with the largest engineering skills shortages and skills gaps. 

2.  The Context

Engineering and other interventions are answers and enablers to deliver the FAEO Vision for which is inspired by the AU AGENDA 2063 and the UN Agenda 2030 on SDGs for people, planet and prosperity and the Strategies contained in the AU Continental Education  Strategy  for Africa (CESA) 16-25/ Science, Technology & Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA) 2024.

“We shall accumulate machinery and establish steel works, iron foundries and factories; we shall link the various states of our Continent with communications; we shall astound the world with our hydroelectric power; we shall drain marshes and swamps, clear infested areas, feed the undernourished, and rid our people of parasites and disease. It is within the possibility of science and technology “ENGINEERING” to make even the Sahara bloom into a vast field with verdant vegetation for agricultural and industrial developments”.

We are inspired by President Kwame Nkrumah, first speech at the foundation summit of the Organization of African Unity, Addis Ababa, 24 May 1963.

Despite concerted efforts to foster critical infrastructure expansion and create an enabling environment for safe, sustainable and resilient facilities, limited engineering and technical expertise remain a core inhibiting factor in African development. This directly can undermine industrial development and lead to economic stagnation (2017 Africa Sustainable Development Report). Many studies including UNESCO’s “Engineering: Issues, Challenges and Opportunities for Development” and the Royal Academy of Engineering’s “Engineers for Africa: Identifying Engineering Capacity Needs in Sub-Saharan Africa”, reference the existing gap between National Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policies and implementation capacities.

Engineering is central to achieving all the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as it uses science, technology and mathematics to develop practical solutions to providing food, water, energy, safe environment, sustainable cities, natural disaster resilience and other areas which are crucial to all facets of life. Engineering is key to the development of new technologies driving the 4th Industrial Revolution such as the confluence of robotics and artificial intelligence, Internet of Everything, quantum computing, big data analytics and other disruptive technologies. Engineering is at the heart of our modern world and will shape the future.

Engineering impact on sustainable economic development as it is needed to support the growth and development of essential infrastructures such as buildings, roads, dams, water supply, and sanitation in both developed and developing countries. The World Engineering Day can be used for inclusive access to engineering for women and girls, and encourage young people, especially girls, to consider engineering. FAEO’s message to our young people and women is engineering must be a career of choice, we say to you “be an engineer and create a better future for the world”

3. Benefits of the World Engineering Day

A World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development will see coordinated activities taking place worldwide. WFEO, FAEO and other stakeholders in engineering crafted numerous outcomes and the following actions:    
  1. Highlight the achievements of engineers and engineering to our modern world and improve public understanding of how engineering and technology is central to modern life, affecting the daily lives of every person on the planet and central to sustainable development;
  2.  
  3. Build worldwide educational capacity through activities targeted on engineering and technology, to encourage more young people to consider engineering as a career as it is vital that the brightest young minds be attracted to engineering to address the pressing problems of climate change and sustainable development;
  4.  
  5. Address the issues of gender balance in engineering which continues to be a gender segregated occupation while encouraging women and girls to consider the opportunities that engineering provides to create a better world;
  6.  
  7. Build capacity in engineering education and strong institutions for ensuring the standards of engineering education, with a focus in particular on developing countries and emerging economies;
  8.  
  9. Engage with government and industry to address the need for engineering capacity and the quality of engineers around the world and develop strategic frameworks and engineering institutions to deliver professional development and training;
  10.  
  11. Celebrate the contributions of engineers across all continents and raise awareness of their contributions including important women engineers, especially those that have made also be introduced.

4. The Role of FAEO

The Objective of the Federation shall be to develop, in the spirit of African unity, direct relationship between its several member organizations on a basis of mutual understanding, so that their activities may be fostered and directed to the greater public good and, in particular:

  • To establish appropriate standards of engineering
  • To support the advancement of knowledge in critical areas required for
  • To build engineering resource capacity in every
  • To promote the development of standards of professional engineering practice appropriate for the continent and share knowledge on best
  • To promote the adoption of appropriate regulatory framework in each country to ensure that only qualified practitioners
  • To promote the adoption of high standards of ethical
  • To promote the advancement of engineering science and practice and their applications for the benefit of
  • To advance the common aims and objectives of its member
  • To support the work of each member organization in its own
  • To provide a focal point for the expression of the professional engineering opinion of its member
  • To collaborate with other national and international organizations, as it may think fit, to support and supplement their

5. Conclusion

FAEO thanks our Governments, UNESCO, WFEO through its President Prof. Gong Ke, and all the FAEO National Members who supported this noble initiative. This is our day, please ensure that the unsung engineering heroes and heroines are honoured and recognised throughout the world and indeed in Africa.

If you want to go FAST, Go Alone, If you want to go FAR, LETS Go Together!

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